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2012 Annual Report
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The Consumer Protection Unit investigates and mediates consumer complaints concerning unfair and unlawful business practices and misleading advertising arising out of alleged violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. If groups of people are victimized by a deceptive trade practice, the Attorney General may file a Civil Investigative Demand in Superior Court commencing a formal investigation. In appropriate cases, a lawsuit to stop the illegal business practice may be initiated.
- E-Mail the Consumer Protection Unit for Consumer Complaints
- If you have a question reagarding a consumer related issues please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- By phone: (401) 274-4400
Apart from carrying out its statutory responsibilities, the Unit also provides information and referral services to the general public. Consumers are directed to the appropriate governmental or private agencies for help in answering specialized questions or resolving disputes that are not within the Unit's jurisdiction.
The Unit conducted approximately 155 outreach presentations to senior centers, community groups and organizations throughout Rhode Island in an effort to educate and protect consumers from scam artists.
In addition, nearly 20 consumer alerts and advisories were issued during 2012, covering such topics as mortgage modification scams, disaster relief scams, phishing scams, fake invoices, employment scams, consumer settlements and holiday shopping tips.
In 2012, the Unit responded to more than 4,501 telephone calls, 1,156 written complaints, 1,033 e-mail inquiries and 127 walk-ins. The Unit recovered $854,423 on behalf of individual consumers. The Unit referred 503 consumer complaints to other agencies. The Unit also registered telemarketers resulting in $3,500 and health clubs resulting in $2,550 in fees for the state during 2012.
For a second year, the Office participated in National Consumer Protection Week, March 4-10, 2012. The Office partnered with Doc Shredding Corp. and provided seven free shredding events throughout Rhode Island in an attempt to provide a safe way for consumers to discard documents and avoid possible identity theft issues.
In August, the Office introduced the online consumer complaint form which allows consumers to type in their complaint and submit it directly to the Unit without having to print it out, fill it out and send it back to the Office.